The Jaagars of Uttarakhand: Beliefs, Rituals, and Practices
Keywords:Uttarakhand, Shamanism, Jaagar, rituals, folk culture
The land of Uttarakhand is known to be the home to a number of gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. Hence, many outlandish practices and beliefs are prevalent in the area. One such practice is Jaagar, a form of spirit worship. This paper attempts to understand this paranormal phenomenon and also traces its impact on the lives of the people of the region. The paper further intends to look at how this fascinating folk heritage is instrumental in reflecting the beliefs and sentiments of the people of the region. It further examines Jaagar as a medium of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the state and also traces the efforts that are being made to preserve it as an important form of oral tradition. The study included qualitative methods of study like Narratology. Besides this, in-depth interviews were also carried out with experts. A textual analysis on seminal books on Jaagars like William Sax’s God of Justice: Ritual Healing and Social Justice in Central Himalayas, G. Sontheimer’s Folk Culture, Folk Religion and Oral Traditions as a Component in Maharashtrian Culture and D.S. Pokharia’s Kumaoni Bhasha, Sahitya evam Sanskriti and other secondary data was also analyzed. After conducting the study it was concluded that the Jaagar is a phenomenon which gives us a glimpse of the belief, rituals and practices of the people of Uttarakhand. As Jaagar is an important art form, it needs to be promoted zealously in the midst of the cultural for a worldwide.
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